Review: Rhum Barbancourt 15

Rating: ★★★½☆
Rhum Barbancourt 15 year
www.barbancourt.net

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Amber rums are tricky beasts. Light rums are so often weak and hollow (although there are exceptions.) Dark rums are often – for better or worse – brutal and in-you-face. Amber rums, though, run the gamut. By most appearances they are unintimidating. But sometimes this benign appearance conceals a soul of fire. And so it is with Rhum Barbancourt 15 Year.

I tried the Barbancourt 8 Year some time back, as it was actually recommended over the 15 Year by respectable sites like The Ministry of Rum. As it turns out, I wasn’t overly impressed (I should have known better – since when should you listen to someone respectable when it comes to rum?) Eventually, on the recommendation of a few loyal readers, I opted to give the Barbancourt 15 Year a try at long last.

Aside from my original lukewarm experience with Barbancourt, I had two more reasons to lower my expectations, the first being the often telling (but at times deceptive) screwtop. I’ve had a handful of brilliant rums packaged in a screwtop bottle, but they are by far the exception. My second concern was the fact that, common amongst French island rums, this is a rum agriole – or “rhum” – made from sugarcane as opposed to molasses. Many folks prefer this method, but in my own experience agrioles taste raw and skunky. Rarely to my liking, and lacking the proper “kick” I enjoy in my rum.

My concerns, my expectations, my preconceived notions – deep six them all. Barbancourt 15 Year is a joy to experience. Peppery and hot, it embodies everything a rum should be. To the nose it’s more sensation than aroma, with a sharp tingle that barely conceals the sweetly burning liquid beneath. Lacking subtlety, this is the rum that burns your eyes and your sinuses, and yet it surprisingly lacks even a hint of char or smoke. All fire, but no ash. The taste itself begins warm and sweet, but this is soon followed by that now familar burning sensation. This burn doesn’t follow to the throat, but instead lingers on the tongue a surprisingly long time. Once again, flavors are well overcome by sensations, but not unpleasantly so.

Barbancourt 15 Year is a joy. It should be experienced cautiously, as it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Share a bottle with your landsmen friends, and then bask in your own pirattitude as they find themselves well out of their depth.

Comments (9)

  1. Gorm

    I have been a big fan of the B15 for years… it is one of my favorites.

  2. Woody

    This one of my favorite rhums. Pour in on the rocks with a little lime slice or mix with coke if you prefer.

  3. Chris K.

    Appreciate your account of B-rum.. Have yet to taste it but my interest was fired by praise of it in a book Irecently read; Mr. Clarinet – Nick Stone.. Again, Thanks and Cheers!

  4. Paul Allen Design

    Good review. Get this while you can as the factory in Haiti took some damage in the earthquake. Supply may/may not run out.

  5. A.Luis Veiga

    D’abbord je vous présente mes sinceres condoléances et surtout aux membres de la grande Famille Barbancourt qui ont perdu leurs êtres chéris à caause de la tragédie qui a apporté le deuil, à eux et au monde entier. J´’habite à la ville de Porto et j’adore votre Rum de 15 ans. Malleureusement je ne le trouve pas dans mon Pays le Portugal et je vais 2 fois/mois au Pays voisin LÉspagne ville de La Coruña (Galicia), où j’ai des familliers, chez un bar appelé “Medley” où je bois 1/2 verres (neat) du délicieux Barbancourt 15 ans. J’éspère pouvoir acheter, un jour, au Portugal votre Barbancourt 15 ans. Je suis sûre que vous retrouverez votre chemin de succès et que vous et vous reprenderez votre travail de grand class malgré le coup térrible qui malleureusement vous a détruit des années ve votre travail éfforcé. Le Rum Barbancourt est un nom sacré pour moi. Je suis barman et je donne formation de service de bar dans des hotels de 4 et 5 étoiles pour mes colègues barmen. jái pris conaissance de votre Rum par un Barman d’excélence et mon “menthor” Mr. Dale Degroff. A.Luis Veiga

  6. Bilge (Post author)

    I took the liberty of babelfishing the above comment. As always, the software didn’t do a stellar job, but it’s enough to get the gist of the comment:

    “Of abbord I present to you my sincere condolences and especially with the members of the Barbancourt big family who lost their dear beings with caause of the tragedy which brought mourning, to them and the whole world. J´’ lives at the town of Oporto and I adore your 15 years Rum. Malleureusement I do not find it in my Country Portugal and I go 2 times/month to the Adjoining country LÉspagne city of Coruña (Galicia), where I have the familiar ones, at a bar called “Medley” where I drink 1/2 glasses (neat) delicious Barbancourt 15 years. I hope to be able to buy, one day, in Portugal your Barbancourt 15 years. I am sure that you will find again your way of success and that you and you will reprenderez your work of large class in spite of the terrible blow which malleureusement destroyed you years ve your endeavoured work. Rum Barbancourt is a name crowned for me. I am barman and I give formation of service of bar in hotels of 4 and 5 stars for my colleagues barmen. jái taken knowledge of your Rum by a Barman of excellence and my “menthor” Mr. Dale Degroff. A.Luis Veiga”

  7. Saltflower

    mix barbancourt estate reserve (15 year old) half and half with Mount Gay Eclipse Barbados rum and you end up with the best drinking blended rum on the planet

  8. jeff

    Woody – putting anything into this wonderful rhum will only ensure you face the wrath of the entirity of the Haitian loa of vodou!!

    Please do not advise anyone to mutilate this finest of spirits with coke…

  9. Hugh Murphy

    I agree its the best sipping rhum on the planet and would not mix only straight up

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